Coordinates: 53°25′48″N 1°21′26″W / 53.4301°N 1.3572°W / 53.4301; -1.3572

Rotherham Town Hall.jpg
Rotherham Town Hall
Rotherham is located in South Yorkshire

 Rotherham shown within South Yorkshire
Population 117,262 (2001 Census)[1]
OS grid reference SK4392
Metropolitan borough Rotherham
Metropolitan county South Yorkshire
Region Yorkshire and the Humber
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district S60–S63, S65–S66
Dialling code 01709
Police South Yorkshire
Fire South Yorkshire
Ambulance Yorkshire
EU Parliament Yorkshire and the Humber
List of places: UK • England • Yorkshire

Rotherham (About this sound pronunciation ) is a town in South Yorkshire, England. It lies on the River Don, at its confluence with the River Rother, between Sheffield and Doncaster. Rotherham, at 6 miles (10 km) from Sheffield City Centre, is surrounded by several smaller settlements, which together form the wider Metropolitan Borough of Rotherham. According to the 2001 Census the population of Rotherham is 117,262.[1]



Early history

Rotherham in the late Mediaeval period

Although there were Iron Age and Roman settlements in the area covered by the town, Rotherham was not founded until the early Middle Ages. It established itself as a key Saxon market town, lying on a Roman road near a forded part of the River Don.[2]

By the late Saxon period, Rotherham was at the centre of a large parish on both sides of the River Don. Following the Norman Conquest, an absentee lord, Nigel Fossard, was put in place. His successors the De Vescis rarely visited the town and did not build a castle or contribute to the town's civic life, but maintained a Friday market and a fair. In the mid 13th century, John de Vesci and Ralph de Tili gave all their possessions in Rotherham to Rufford Abbey. The monks collected tithes from the town and gained rights to an additional market day on Monday and to extend the annual fair from two to three days.[3]

The townsmen of Rotherham formed the "Greaves of Our Lady's Light", an organisation which worked with the town's three guilds. It was suppressed in 1547 but revived in 1584 as the Feoffees of the Common Lands of Rotherham, and remains in existence.[3]

In the 1480s the Rotherham-born Archbishop of York, Thomas Rotherham, instigated the building of The College of Jesus to rival the colleges of Cambridge and Oxford. It was the first brick building in what is now South Yorkshire and taught theology, singing, grammar and writing.[3]

The College and new parish church of All Saints made Rotherham an enviable and modern town at the turn of the 16th century. The college was dissolved in 1547 in the reign of Edward VI, its assets stripped for the crown. Much of the college building remains intact but hidden from view in the town centre.[3] By the end of the 16th century, Rotherham had fallen from a fashionable college town to a notorious haven of gambling and vice. The history of Thomas Rotherham and education in the town are remembered in the name of Thomas Rotherham College.[4]

Memorial brass of the Swift family, All Saints Church, Rotherham, later owners of Broom Hall

Industrial Revolution

The region had been exploited for iron since Roman times, but it was coal that first brought the Industrial Revolution to Rotherham. Exploitation of the coal seams was the driving force behind the improvements to navigation on the River Don, which eventually formed the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation system of navigable inland waterways.

Rotherham iron was very highly regarded for its strength. Iron, and later steel, became the principal industry in Rotherham, surviving into the 20th century. The Walker family built an iron and steel empire in the 18th century, their foundries producing high quality cannon, including some for the ship of the line HMS Victory, and cast iron bridges, one of which was commissioned by Thomas Paine.[5]

Rotherham's cast iron industry expanded rapidly in the early 19th century, the Effingham Ironworks, later Yates, Haywood & Co, opened in 1820. Other major iron-founders included William Corbitt and Co; George Wright and Co of Burton Weir; Owen and Co of Wheathill Foundry; Morgan Macauley and Waide of the Baths Foundry; the Masbro’ Stove Grate Co belonging to Messrs. Perrot, W. H. Micklethwait and John and Richard Corker of the Ferham Works.

The Parkgate Ironworks was established in 1823 by Sanderson and Watson, and changed ownership several times. In 1854, Samuel Beal & Co produced wrought iron plates for Isambard Kingdom Brunel's famous steamship the SS Great Eastern.[6] In 1864, the ironworks was taken over by the Parkgate Iron Co. Ltd, becoming the Park Gate Iron and Steel Company in 1888. The company was purchased by Tube Investments Ltd in 1956 and closed in 1974. Steel, Peech and Tozer's massive Templeborough steelworks (now the Magna Science Adventure Centre) was, at its peak, over a mile (1.6 km) long, employing 10,000 workers, and housing six electric arc furnaces producing 1.8 million tonnes of steel a year. The operation closed down in 1993.

Joseph Foljambe established a factory to produce his Rotherham plough, the first commercially successful iron plough.[7]

A glass works was set up in Rotherham in 1751, and became Beatson Clark & Co, one of the town's largest manufacturers, exporting glass medicine bottles worldwide. Beatson Clark & Co was a family business until 1961, when it became a public company. The glass works operated on the same site, although the family connection ceased and the company is owned by Newship Ltd, a holding company linked to the industrialist John Watson Newman. It continues to the manufacture glass containers for the pharmaceutical, food and drinks industries.[8] In the 19th century, other successful industries included pottery, brass making and the manufacture of cast iron fireplaces. Precision manufacturing companies in the town include AESSEAL, Newburgh Engineering, Precision Magnetics, Orkot Composites and Darron Oil Tools SBO. Rotherham is the location of the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP).

Milling grain into flour was a traditional industry in Rotherham, formerly in the Millmoor area, hence Rotherham United F.C.'s nickname "The Millers". Flour milling continued at the Rank Hovis town mill site on Canklow Road[9] until September 2008.[10] The site of the mill is a warehousing and distribution facility for Premier Foods.

Floods of 2007

Rotherham was affected by the floods in the summer of 2007, which brought disruption to the town, closed roads, schools, the local transport system and damaged personal and commercial property. The Parkgate Shopping centre was flooded, with shops suffering damage and losing stock. Ulley Reservoir caused major concern when its dam showed signs of structural damage, threatening to break and release the water into Canklow, Catcliffe, Treeton, Whiston areas and an electrical sub-station serving Sheffield.[11] Rother FM evacuated its studios in the danger area, causing its sister station, Trax FM, to broadcast on the Rother FM frequency. Fire service and police officers used thirteen high-powered pumps to lower the water level in the reservoir and reduce pressure on the dam wall, which was damaged but held. By summer 2008, the reservoir and surrounding country park reopened.

A new wetland and flood storage area, Centenary Washlands, has since been built by Rotherham Council and the Environment Agency to prevent flooding in the future. Sheffield Wildlife Trust manages the site as a local nature reserve.


Like most of South Yorkshire, Rotherham is a Labour Party stronghold. Its seat in the House of Commons has been held by Labour MPs continuously since a by-election in 1933. Denis MacShane, the current Member of Parliament for Rotherham, has held the seat since a by-election in 1994 precipitated by the death in office of James Boyce.


Rotherham is amongst the leaders in advanced manufacturing in the UK. The main Corus Engineering Steels (CES) plant produces steel for products worldwide, including Renault Formula One cars and the Airbus A380 "super jumbo" aeroplane. The smaller (CNS) site based close to the old Templeborough Melting Shop & Rolling Mills site produces hot rolled narrow strip to high tolerances for the aeronautical and agricultural industries. The future of the steel industry in Rotherham is in doubt in light of the financial crisis of 2007-2009. Rotherham's economic reliance on supplying the automobile industry with raw steel led to the announcement of a significant scale-back of operations in January 2009. This, combined with the closure of Rotherham's Burberry clothing factory led to the most significant economic crisis in the borough since the 1980s.

The town centre has declined since the opening of the 560,000-square-foot (52,000 m2) out-of-town Retail World development in 1987.[citation needed]

Over the next 20 years, Rotherham is expected to receive £2 billion in investment from private industry. The town's economy, when combined with that of Sheffield, is growing faster than Leeds and Manchester.[12] In July 2010, statistics from Yorkshire Forward showed that Rotherham had attracted new investment and industry from abroad.[13] The Advanced Manufacturing Park has attracted major companies including Rolls Royce and Castings Technology International (Cti). Technology developed on the AMP is utilised in leading edge projects within Formula One and the next generation of military and commercial aircraft, including the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Because of Rotherham's proximity to the Meadowhall Centre in the Lower Don Valley, and Sheffield city centre, it does not have a wide range of big name stores for a town its size. The town centre includes major high street stores, several independent stores, markets, cafes, restaurants and bars. Shops include a large Tesco, JD Sports, New Look and Primark. There are indoor and outdoor markets and a street market during the week. There are restaurants, cafes and bars around the town centre.[14] Outside the centre is Parkgate Shopping Park, which is linked to the town centre by a free shuttle bus.


2007 saw the start of an urban regeneration project known as the "Rotherham Renaissance". The project aimed at creating a vibrant town centre and included apartments, shops, outdoor cafés, and a new theatre.[15] The project was developed from European Union Objective 1 funding. As of July 2010, The Old Market and Keppel Wharf on the waterfront are open and include a mix of apartments, with retail and restaurant space on the ground floor. The old market building has won design awards. Also complete is Imperial Buildings which was renovated and reopened. A leisure complex and a NHS health village on the waterfront have opened.

New council headquarters incorporating a Customer Service Centre, Cafe, Library and Gallery Space will open in Riverside House on the former Guest & Chrimes factory site by April 2012. Rotherham United football club is building a new 12,000 seat stadium on the adjacent site. Rotherham Central railway station is being rebuilt. Forge Island (the current Tesco site) will form an anchor project containing a Cultural Quarter with retail space, theatre, library and arts centre when Tesco has moved to a new base in the Commercial Quarter.[16] All Saints Building has been demolished.


Beyond the town centre and away from the Don Valley, the Rotherham district is largely rural, containing a mixture of farming and mining communities as well as the large Wentworth Woodhouse estate, where the last surviving kiln of the Rockingham Pottery can be seen.


Census population data for the borough of Rotherham 1801-1891
Year 1801 1811 1821 1831 1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891
Source: Vision of Britain - Rotherham District: Total Population.[17]
Census population data for the borough of Rotherham 1901-2001
Year 1901 1911 1921 1931 1941 1951 1961 1971 1981 1991 2001
Source: Vision of Britain - Rotherham District: Total Population.[17]


Rotherham Minster

Rotherham Minster in All Saints Square dates from the 15th century and includes parts from earlier Saxon and Norman structures. It was described by Pevsner as "the best perpendicular church in the country", and by Simon Jenkins as "the best work in the county".

Close to the town centre is the 15th century Chapel of Our Lady of Rotherham Bridge (or "Chapel on the Bridge"), beside Chantry Bridge (a road bridge opened in the 1930s). It is one of four surviving bridge chapels in the country. The chapel was restored in 1923, having been used as the town jail and a tobacconist's shop.

Boston Castle

Built in the 18th century, Clifton House houses Clifton Park Museum. The remains of the 16th century College of Jesus are in the town centre. Boston Castle, in the grounds of Boston Park, was built as a hunting lodge by Thomas, 3rd Earl of Effingham between 1773 and 1774 to mark his opposition to British attempts to crush the Americans in their war for independence. It is named after Boston, Massachusetts, the scene of the Boston Tea Party.[18]

On the outskirts of Rotherham, a brick built glass making furnace, the Catcliffe Glass Cone, is the oldest surviving structure of its type in Western Europe and one of four remaining in the United Kingdom - the other surviving cones can be found in Wordsley in the West Midlands, Lemington Glass Works and Alloa in Scotland. Threatened with demolition in the 1960s, it has been preserved as a Scheduled Ancient Monument and stands as a focal point in a sheltered housing complex. At Maltby near Rotherham, the medieval ruins of the Cistercian Roche Abbey are a popular tourist destination.

Culture and attractions


Furnace at the Magna Centre, Rotherham

The Magna Science Adventure Centre, an interactive science and adventure centre built in a former steel works in Templeborough, has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the region.[19]

Clifton Park Museum medium-sized municipal museum situated in Clifton Park. Admission is free.


The Civic Theatre and an Arts Centre is in the town centre. Sean Bean made his stage début at Rotherham Civic Theatre whilst a student at Rotherham College of Arts and Technology.[citation needed]

The Westgate district of the town centre is home to many pubs, bars and clubs and is the focal point of Rotherham's nightlife. .


Rotherhams holds several public event through the year:- A fashion show Rotherham Rocks in July, takes place in 'All Saints Square' and Rotherham by the Sea, in August, is held in the same location, where it is transformed into a seaside beach with sand, deckchairs and other traditional seaside attractions. Rotherham Show is an annual event, held in Clifton Park, with stalls from all sectors of the community, shows and live bands.


Clifton park, in the town centre, includes sport facilites, an outdoor paddling pool, a small fairground and an adventure park.

Minster Gardens, is an urban park in the heart of the town centre, next to Rotherham Minster and All Saints Square. It has an amphitheater and space for open air events, with stepped seating, lawns, grass terracing and a meadow area.

In popular culture

Jamie Oliver's television series Jamie's Ministry of Food, broadcast on Channel 4 in 2008 was based in Rotherham. He aimed to make Rotherham "the culinary capital of the United Kingdom" by his 'Pass it on' scheme. He tried to teach people to cook fresh food and establish healthy eating as part of daily life.[20] The town is mentioned in the Arctic Monkeys' song "Fake Tales of San Francisco" in the lyric, "Yeah I'd love to tell you all my problem. You're not from New York City, you're from Rotherham".

Rotherham has produced many classic and progressive rock bands, supported by the Classic Rock Society, such as Deadline, Saxon, Crimes of Passion, Loungeroom, Jive Bunny, Bring Me the Horizon, Good Morning Liberty, and Disarm. Jarvis Cocker and Pulp played their first gig at Rotherham Arts Centre in 1980. Christopher Wolstenholme, bass player in the rock band Muse, was born here.


Rotherham United Football Club play in Football League Two. The team currently play at the Don Valley Stadium in Sheffield whilst a new stadium is being built on the town centre's Guest & Chrimes site. Historically the town was represented by Rotherham Town and Rotherham County, who both played in the Football League.

Rotherham Titans rugby union team reached the Guinness Premiership in 1999 and 2003 before being relegated. The club plays at the Clifton Lane Sports Ground. The town is also represented in rugby league by the Rotherham Giants of the Rugby League Conference.

Formula One team Virgin Racing are based in Dinnington in the borough. ChampCar and former Formula One driver Justin Wilson is from Woodall, which is in the Metropolitan Borough of Rotherham.[21] Motorcycle speedway racing was staged in the town about 1930.

Hurdler Chris Rawlinson, Olympic gold medallist sailor Paul Goodison, Olympic silver medallist Peter Elliott and former England goalkeeper David Seaman are from Rotherham.

Freedom of the borough

The Mayor of Rotherham, Cllr Shaukat Ali and Col Simon Newton, Yorkshire Regiment

On Monday 3 August 2009 Rotherham became the first town to bestow the Freedom of the Borough on the Yorkshire Regiment, giving it the right to march through the town with "flags flying, bands playing and bayonets fixed". At a ceremony outside the Town Hall, the Regiment paraded two Guards of soldiers who had recently returned from Iraq and the Colours of the 3rd Battalion Yorkshire Regiment (Duke of Wellington's), led by the Kings Division Band, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Vallings, the battalion commanding officer. The Mayor of Rotherham, Councillor Shaukat Ali, on behalf of the borough, presented the Freedom Scroll to Colonel Simon Newton, who accepted the honour for the regiment. The regiment is the only military unit to become Honorary Freemen of the Borough.

Notable people

Comedian Sandy Powell was born in Rotherham. The town has produced several other entertainers who started on the Working men's club circuit, such as Duggie Brown. Christopher Wolstenholme of Muse and Dean Andrews, of Life On Mars, and artist Margaret Clarkson were all born in Rotherham.[22] Rob McVeigh, a contestant on Any Dream Will Do hails from Rotherham.

Rotherham is the hometown of the Chuckle Brothers, Arsenal and England goalkeeper David Seaman, along with World Cup and English Premier League referee Howard Webb. Actors Liz White and Ryan Sampson also hail from Rotherham, as does former Conservative Party leader William Hague and Sir Donald Coleman Bailey. Presenter James May grew up in Rotherham.

Twin towns

Rotherhams official twin town is:

Partner towns

Rotherham has three partner towns[24]:

See also


  1. ^ a b ONS
  2. ^ RotherhamUnOfficial
  3. ^ a b c d David Hey, Medieval South Yorkshire
  4. ^ "Thomas Rotherham College". Thomas Rotherham College. Retrieved 2008-10-09. 
  5. ^[dead link]
  6. ^ Glover, Bill. "History of the Atlantic Cable & Submarine Telegraphy - Great Eastern". Retrieved 2008-10-09. 
  7. ^ "The Invention of the Rotherham Plough by Stanyforth and Foljambe". Retrieved 2008-10-09. 
  8. ^ Beatson Clark today
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ [2]
  11. ^ "Thousands evacuated as dam threatens to burst its banks". This is London. Retrieved 2007-06-26. 
  12. ^ Rotherham Investment and Development article on Rotherham's growth Directory
  13. ^ Tom Austen (14 July 2010). "News: Rotherham continues as a leading location for foreign investment". Rotherham business news. 
  14. ^ Rotherham Town Centre Shopping Directory
  15. ^ "Rotherham Renaissance". Retrieved 2008-10-10. 
  16. ^ "Rotherham Renaissance - Renaissance projects - All Saints’ Quarter". Retrieved 2008-10-10. 
  17. ^ a b Rotherham District: Total Population. Vision of Britain. Retrieved on 2009-02-02.
  18. ^ John Goodchild, ‘Matters of Concern: the Life Story of the Third Earl of Effingham’, Aspects of Rotherham: Discovering Local History, ed. Melvyn Jones (Barnsley: Wharncliffe Publishing Limited, 1995).
  19. ^ "BBC - South Yorkshire - Entertainment - Magna Science Adventure Centre". Retrieved 2008-10-10. 
  20. ^ Renton, Alex (2008-10-01). "Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food goes to Rotherham". London: Retrieved 2008-10-10. 
  21. ^ "Questions and Answers". Justin Wilson. Retrieved 2008-10-10. 
  22. ^ Information on Margaret Clarkson
  23. ^ Rotherham.Gov.UK town twinning
  24. ^ Rotherham.Gov.UK - Rotherhams Partner Towns

External links

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